Structure of UPSC Civil Services Examination

UPSC Civil Services Examination is a 3 stage examination with the number of people moving from 1st stage to 2nd stage to 3rd stage decreasing. The format of these stages is also different.

The process starts with something called an ‘Exam Notification’, when UPSC notifies you that we are conducting the exam. Please come and write 🙂

For 2017, this notification will appear on 22nd February 2017 (22/2/2017)

Along with the notification, the online application portal will be open. Fill the details which are usually very basic and then you can use internet banking to pay the exam fees which is very nominal like Rs 100/- . I think there are offline options also to pay the exam fees.

Last date of completing this application is 17th March 2017 (17/3/2017). After this date, even if PM recommends, UPSC will not accept your application.

Around 5 to 6 lakh applicants fill the form

Before the preliminary exam, your hall ticket will be made available online. You need to take a print of it.

Follow this blog to get regular updates.


Around 4 lakh students actually write the examination among which you could say around 1.5 lakh students are serious aspirants

Preliminary exam will be conducted on 18th June 2017 (18/6/2017) usually on a Sunday. This is a MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) based examination. 1 question 4 answer choices. There will be 2 papers – Paper 1 (General Studies) and Paper 2 (Aptitude)

Paper 1 will have 100 questions each carrying 2 marks and you will have 2 hours from 9.00 a.m to 11 a.m

Paper 2 will have 80 questions each of 2.5 marks and you will have 2.5 hours from 2.00 p.m to 4 p.m

Thanks to some miscreants who protested outside Parliament, Paper 2 is being made qualifying i.e you just have to get 30% of the 200 marks to be eligible. Once you are eligible, your Paper 1 marks will be considered.

From the previous trends, if you get around 120 to 130 mars or more, you will pass the preliminary examination.

Only around 13000 students go to the next stage which is called the Mains examination.


Once you pass the preliminary examination, you will be given a username and password through which you can fill something called a Detailed Application Form (DAF) which can be filled online and submitted online. You must however take a print after completion and send it to Dholpur House, Delhi where UPSC is seated.  This will consist of what is the order of preference of your services, your dad’s occupation, your mom’s occupation, hometown, hobbies, achievements, etc. More about it when you reach there 🙂

Mains exam is conducted over a period of 5 days. In 2017, it will be conducted on 28th October 2017 (28/10/2017)

It will consist of

  • 1 Essay paper – 25o marks – 3 hours – Usually 2 essays each of 1000 words
  • 4 General Studies papers – 250 marks each – 3 hours each
  • 2 Papers of a single optional subject that you choose – 250 marks each – 3 hours eac

So, this totals to 1750 marks

Apart from this, you have to write 1 English paper (300 marks and 3 hours) usually synonyms, antonyms, precis writing, essay and so on and 1 Indian language paper like Kannada, Hindi, English, etc (300 marks and 3 hours).

These are qualifying papers. Meaning only if you get qualifying marks (which UPSC does not reveal but is usually around 25% to 30%), then only your other scoring papers will be evaluated. A friend of mine who had hopes of appearing in the final list lost it because he could not clear the language paper. So do not take it easy.


If you get around more than 900 marks in Mains Examination, you will mostly receive an interview call. Around 3000 – 3500 students (3 times the vacancies) are called to be interviewed at Delhi. These interviews are conducted usually from March to May.

UPSC will give you Rs 10 for accommodation and will give second class train ticket fare (I was amazed at this letter sent to me. It also mentioned I could travel by ship 🙂 )

Criticism apart, this interview is conducted at Dholpur House, Delhi located near India Gate. It is every aspirant’s dream to enter this ‘Holy’ place. Interviews are conducted by boards headed by UPSC Members and every board will have around 4 – 5 members. More about it later. You can also check my interview HERE.

Each interview usually lasts for 30 minutes.


Once the interview is over, wait for your results (usually declared during second week of May or June) usually on a weekend so that UPSC receives few phone calls 🙂

By the way, if your name does not appear in the rank list (1 to 1300 or whatever is the number of vacancies), then you start over all again from Prelims. No special consideration. And you would have already filled your application for next exam in the month of February – March only 🙂

Do not feel intimidated by this process and the numbers. Give 1 or maximum 2 attempts for this examination because it is worth it. Why it is worth it I will explain in some other post ?



About guptasudhir

Let us revolutionize education in India !
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s